From FORTUNE SMALL BUSINESS

CASHING IN ON CAUSE-RELATED MARKETING
Reach out to new customers by supporting
a social initiative that's near and dear to them.
by Jeffrey Sussman

Want to increase your sales and profits? Try a PR campaign built around cause-related marketing. Support a popular cause, and you can do well by doing good.

Stone Mountain handbags, a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality, affordable
leather handbags came to me, asking me to create a PR campaign that would increase its sales
and profits. I asked the president of the company, Kenny Orr, if he had a particular cause he
would like to support. He told me that several of his relatives had been stricken by cancer. I
suggested that he establish The Stone Mountain Breast Cancer Awareness Fund, which would
donate 5% of his company's profits from the sale of handbags to breast cancer research centers
and hospitals. Together, we agreed to name the program "Handbags for Hope." We
created in-store signs, tent cards, and hangtags, each of which carried a message explaining the
Handbags for Hope campaign. We placed the tent cards on handbag counters in department
stores. Stores put up our signs in strategic locations. Each purse had a hangtag with a
simple pink, crossed ribbon. I sent out press releases announcing the program to media around
the country. We received an avalanche of publicity.
That year, Stone Mountain’s sales increased by 18%. We learned that when a woman went into a department store and saw that by purchasing our handbags, Stone Mountain would donate a portion of her purchase price to a cause that was important to her, she chose our handbags instead of ones that did not donate money to a worthwhile cause. The campaign, using cause marketing, was a great success.
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Jeffrey Sussman is the author of the popular book, Power Promoting: How to Market Your Business to The Top! and is president of Jeffrey Sussman, Inc., marketing and public relations. His e-mail address is marketingpro@aol.com and his Website is www.powerpublicity.com.